One of the more common types of business lawsuits, breach of contract cases cover a wide range of business activities from failure to deliver purchased products to whether parties had completed a contract at all. The typical damages that an aggrieved party can recover are those that would put it in the same position as if the breaching had properly performed the contract.
In other instances, a contract may specify the damages that the court should award (a liquidated damages clause), or the court may order that the breaching party perform (specific performance). If you are involved in a breach of contract dispute, a Monmouth County business lawyer can help you determine what options you have.
Breach of Contract – Failure to Perform
NBA star Dwyane Wade recently settled a $25 million lawsuit involving a breach of contract claim that two former partners brought against Wade. The three had been involved in a business deal that would open a chain of sports restaurants bearing Wade’s likeness and name. The partners sued when they refused to meet Wade and his business associate’s demand to increase Wade’s stake in the business. Wade made the demand after he claimed that one of the partners refused to meet a particular responsibility.
The settlement incorporated several breach of contract claims that the partners had made against Wade. They had also accused Wade of not performing a contract that would license his name to two charter schools. The case had actually gone to trial, with Wade testifying for nine hours over the course of the three days. The sides were able to come to a settlement before the jury returned a verdict.
Breach of Contract – Debate on Whether the Contract Existed
Problems sometimes arise when two sides enter into contract negotiations, but it is not clear whether there was a so-called “meeting of the minds” or final agreement. One side may pursue a breach of contract claim when it begins to perform on the assumption that there was in fact a contract between the two sides. Actor Robin Williams recently sued a film studio for $6 million on these grounds. The actor argued that the studio promised to “pay or play” for a cop comedy film that the studio never produced.
Complicating matters in this case was the fact that there several areas on which the actor and the studio agreed. Nevertheless, the studio countered, there was no signed contract between the two sides. A signed contract is not always required, but, in this case, it would have bolstered the actor’s arguments. The judge ultimately dismissed Williams’s lawsuit, finding that there was never a contract between the actor and the studio. She wrote that there was only an “agreement to agree,” which did not constitute a contract because the essential terms of the agreement were not in it.